The restrictive measures against Russia do not, in principle, prohibit a Russian citizen from piloting a plane in the EU

21 Dec 2023, 27 mins ago

On 20 December 2023, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) published a judgment in the case T233/22, Ekaterina Islentyeva v Council of the European Union.

Ms Islentyeva (the Applicant), a dual Luxembourg and Russian national, holds a Luxembourgish private pilot licence and uses aeroplanes at Luxembourg Airport. Following the February 2022 events, the EU Council prohibited Russian-registered aeroplanes from landing in, taking off from, or flying over the EU territory. The prohibition also extends to any non-Russian registered aeroplane, owned, chartered or otherwise controlled by a Russian natural or legal person, entity or body. The EU Commission and the European Aviation Safety Agency interpreted this prohibition as meaning that all Russian nationals are banned from flying on a private basis as  pilots, since they control where the aeroplane flies and lands.

The Applicant asked the Court for annulment of the contested regulation, which was dismissed on the basis of lack of standing. However, the CJEU indicated that control should be viewed from economic or financial point of view, and do not affect the situation where a Russian citizen uses his/her licence to fly an aircraft not registered in Russia and which is not owned or controlled by a Russian natural or legal person, entity or body.

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